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Name: Super Morph
Format: Super NES
Developer: Millenium
Publisher: Sony
Year: 1993

Super Morph is a puzzle game unlike pretty much all others in the genre. Basically, you are put into a load of levels set in 2D planes, and you are required to find a cog and then get to the exit. But you don't play a normal person. Oh no. You play.. a ball of stuff. There is, predictably, a dodgy plot sequence at the start of the game to explain how:

Boy goes to dodgy professor's house.

Boy takes part in highly implausible matter transferal beam experiment which goes wrong.

Boy becomes ball which can Morph into any one of 4 forms.

Machine which can change the boy back to being a boy has explodified.

The parts to put the machine back together (we only need cogs. If real life matter transference beams were this easy to make, I would be a millionaire by now.) have been scattered among 4 different areas: Garden, Factory, Laboratory and Sewer.

Because a trip down to the local Cog's "R" Us would be far too difficult for such an aging professor to manage, he naturally sends our friendly little boy / Morphing thing to pick up all the cogs in each of the 9 levels for all of the 4 worlds. Because the fact that he's limited to being made of water, rubber, metal or gas isn't an obstacle at all, oh no.


Ok, suspension of disbelief, Nintendo logic and all that. But even so, this does seem like a rather idiotic plot for a game. Anyway...

You are given the task of playing the morphing blob and picking up the solitary cog in each level within the time limit. You can morph into either the rubber, metal, gas or water forms at any time, as long as you have the necessary power ups. To morph, you need to have one morph icon for the relevant state (you are given a number of these at the start of the level, but can also pick up more inside the level, if you can find them) and also one general purpose change. These are used up one for every change you make. It is possible to go "into the red" with state morph icons, as long as you get out of the red (by picking up some more icons) before the level finishes. If you use more general purpose changes than you have though, you morph into a sort of wierd nothingness which consists of a pair of floating eyes. This causes the level to end. It's a little confusing that there are two different schemes / pick ups needed to morph, but you can get the hang of it if you concentrate.

Each one of the four SNES pad buttons was assigned to a different state, so morphing into any form became second nature once you had learnt which button did which. The other buttons controlled the map (if you could find the map icon in the level, you gained a quite nice Mode 7 powered map which allows you to view the whole level and zoom in on particular areas. Unfortunately, your time limit continues to diminish when using this lovely function, which means that it's not too useful.) and movement. Essentially, all you had to do for each level was work out a path to the cog, and then work out what order you need to morph in to get past all the obstacles. For each obstacle, there were some forms which cannot get past, some which will be killed by an obstacle, and some which will destroy it. For example...

A load of fire in your way is no trouble as the metal character (he rolls right over) or the water character (he will put the fire out). But the gas character is exploded and the rubber character is melted. So clearly, the best idea is to use the water character to put the flames out so anyone can go over it. But, there might be a grate in front of the fire, which will get kill the water character. So you should use the rubber character to get over the grate, but then morph into the water character to put out the fire....

And that's just a simple level. Multiply that by 10 obstacles, different paths, not enough icons for all the morphs you need, and an exit in an impossible to reach area, and you have A Hard Game. It's still very good, but sometimes you have to spend some serious time even working out where the cog is on a level, let alone figuring out how to get there.

Overall, this is a very good puzzle game, with very little direct competition as far as similarities go. If you can think very logically and be patient, then you'll like it. As for me, I find it very hard to get past about a quarter of the way into the game. This game isn't for everyone, but puzzle fans who want a challenge will find something worth having here. Although when you realise the water guy can't go up a ramp, but you've just used you last Morph, there may well be some head/wall based interaction. If it sounds like something that could annoy you, then steer well clear.

The ROM is available on the Internet, although not as widely as the really popular games. Only a big rom website will have it. The ROM emulates perfectly with Zsnes, and probably on most other emulators as well.


Playing the ROM.

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